China Elevator Stories

Travel: Eating mutton in Inner Mongolia: “Sheep here don’t have that smell”

We travel to Inner Mongolia and stop at Ulan Hot for dinner.


Ruth Silbermayr-Song


It’s October 2015. For the weeklong Chinese National holidays, hubby, I, and our 15-month-old son make a road trip to the Arxan mountain range (阿尔山) in Inner Mongolia (内蒙古) near the China-Mongolia border.

We stop halfway in Ulan Hot (乌兰浩特), Inner Mongolia’s capital from 1947-1950 and home to the only temple worldwide dedicated to Genghis Khan. We go to a restaurant famous for its mutton dishes in the evening.

I’m not a big fan of mutton if the taste is too strong, so we ask the waitress about the meat. She says: “Only meat from sheep that are fed animal feed has that strong smell. The local sheep in this area all graze on pastures and don’t have that smell.”

We go ahead and order a mutton stew. The stew is delicious.
When we leave the restaurant, we don’t feel the night’s cold as much as we did before.

Do you like eating mutton?